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Demand high for Oklahoma City’s Small Business Continuity Program for COVID-19 emergency relief -- corrections
* Three corrections to the original version of this news release are highlighted in bold text below.
More than 600 local business owners requested help from the City of Oklahoma City’s Small Business Continuity Program, which launched earlier this month. The program will quickly put funding into the hands of small business owners to help them retain employees during economic instability caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As expected, requests for funding and technical assistance far exceeded the $5.5 million available in the program. An internal team of 18 reviewers has been reviewing applications for compliance with requirements and the committee making funding decisions will rank the qualifying applications based on need. A disbursement committee of eight people will make the final award determination, with cash payments and loan disbursements expected to begin in early May.
“Our intent is to provide support for small, Oklahoma City businesses, so our review process has made sure the funds are reserved for them,” said Cathy O’Connor, president and CEO of the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City.
About the program
The program will provide emergency relief and support for local small businesses affected by the pandemic. To qualify, businesses must:
- Be a for-profit business
- Employ no more than 50 full-time equivalent employees (under 15 for the incentive program)
- Have a physical location in Oklahoma City (online-only businesses aren’t eligible)
- Have been in operation for at least a year as of March 16
- Be able to demonstrate a 50% drop in revenue (or projected revenue) between March 16 and April 15, 2020, compared to the same time period in 2019.
There are three main programs: an incentive program with cash reimbursements for retained employee payroll, forgivable or low-interest loans, and technical assistance with pandemic-related business challenges.
Applications were accepted April 6-17. The need for and framework of the program was developed in a partnership between the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, the Alliance for Economic Development of Oklahoma City and the City. Other private businesses have stepped in to help with administration.
So far, reviewers have determined about 100 of the applications do not meet eligibility requirements, in many cases because the businesses are not located within Oklahoma City limits.
Companies that meet the minimum requirements and are applying for a loan are being evaluated by bank underwriters, and scored. The disbursement committee will complete the evaluation and finalize the list of recipients, and loan and reimbursement amounts.
Checks for reimbursements and loans are expected to be distributed beginning May 8. The final list of recipients will be presented to the City Council by the end of June.
Visit covid19.okc.gov for the latest local COVID-19 news, guidance and City services updates.
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